Phorest software raises €20m from US investment firm

Phorest, which offers management software for hair and beauty salons, has been growing at around 40% annually.

Irish-founded software firm Phorest has raised €20 million in funding from US investment firm Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE).

The company, which was founded by Ronan Perceval in 2003, will use the funding to increase the pace of its international expansion. Phorest, which offers management software for hair and beauty salons, has been growing at around 40 per cent annually.

The company enables salons to take bookings online, manage appointments, roster staff, control stock and implement marketing campaigns and loyalty programmes.

The €20 million investment will also buy out some of the existing investors, including Enterprise Equity and a number of angel investors. Enterprise Equity participated in Phorest’s seed funding round in 2011, when it raised €1.2 million.

“As a team, we want to ignore the noise, and build an SMB Software-as-a-Service company that can last for generations,” said Mr Perceval. “SGE’s entrepreneur-centric approach and focus on the long-term makes them the perfect fit as a partner for Phorest, and this investment can help us scale globally while remaining focused on doing what we do best: being the champion of the independent salon owner by providing them with technologies and marketing automation that are normally only available to larger chains.”

Controlling stake

The management team and employees will retain a controlling stake in the company. It currently employs more than 120 people.

The deal is the first for SGE in Ireland and its fourth in Europe, with previous deals including the Logic Group – subsequently acquired by Barclaycard – Graduway and ETF Securities. In total, the Philadelphia-headquartered firm has invested in more than 45 companies worldwide, concentrating on software, information services and internet companies.

“Phorest are at the perfect stage for rapid expansion, having established themselves as leaders in multiple markets,” said Jonathan Klahr, Managing Director at SGE. “At SGE we look for teams with vision, passion and persistence, and this Dublin based team have those qualities in spades. We’re excited to be playing our part in supporting this team and think Phorest will become a world standard bearer for Ireland.”

Phorest has more than 4,000 clients in Ireland, the UK, Finland, Germany and the US. It has an office in Philadelphia, which is used as a base for their US operations.

Its investment capital derives from Susquehanna International Group (SIG), a privately held financial services firm. SIG has more than 2,000 employees worldwide, and employs 500 people at its office in Dublin.